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Mission Handbook 2007-2009: U.S. and Canadian Protestant Ministries

by Linda J. Weber and Dotsey Welliver, eds.

The Mission Handbook is an essential book for at least two reasons: first, as the key directory and reference tool for our North American missions movement and second, as a definitive report on the progress (or decline), achievement (or lack) and health (or illness) of our sprawling, diverse, God-driven regional missions enterprise.

Evangelism and Missions Information Service, P.O. Box 794, Wheaton, IL, 60189, 616 pages, $49.95.

—Reviewed by Michael Jaffarian, missionary researcher, WorldVenture; senior research associate, Operation World.

The Mission Handbook is an essential book for at least two reasons: first, as the key directory and reference tool for our North American missions movement and second, as a definitive report on the progress (or decline), achievement (or lack) and health (or illness) of our sprawling, diverse, God-driven regional missions enterprise.

The heart of it is a set of two directories, one for the United States and one for Canada, of “denominational and nondenominational boards and societies, and other specialized organizations involved in overseas mission,” or at least 822 of them. For each agency, we find at least seven of the following: name, mailing address, phone, fax, email address, web address, association membership/s, chief executive officer, denominational orientation, doctrinal or ecclesiastical stance, primary activities, purpose, year founded, income figure for overseas ministries, income figure for gifts-in-kind, personnel statistics, countries of service and numbers of workers by country.

Whew! It may sound complicated, but the layout of the entries makes them accessible, instructive, even intriguing. Both directory sections are followed by indices. The first set sort agencies by church tradition, the second by ministry activities and the third by countries of activity.
There is also a 65-page introduction by Scott Moreau, replete with tables and graphs, presenting key findings from this collection of data. Among them: (1) in the past four years, the number of North Americans in full-time missionary service declined by 3.8%, while (2) the number of non-US/non-Canadian workers supported from North America increased by 32.3%. Also: (3) in the past four years, “Increasing financial and human resources shifted away from agencies reporting primary activities in the evangelism/discipleship category and toward agencies reporting primary activities in the relief and development category” (p. 47); and: (4) “The explosion of short-term missions has yet to have any type of proportional impact on long-term missions” (p. 27). The number of short-term missionaries going out from North America keeps on growing, while the number of long-term missionaries keeps on declining.

The Mission Handbook is essential for all mission organizations, missiologists, mobilizers, intercessors, local church mission leaders, potential mission recruits, networkers, partnership facilitators, researchers… (have I left anyone out?)

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Copyright © 2007 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.

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